It’s a well-known fact that British people love renovating, decorating, and designing their homes. We’re always trying to improve our living space, whether it’s to make a cosy and comfy place to retreat to at the end of a long day or an impressive space for entertaining guests. We also love to spend time watching our favourite home renovation shows on TV, such as Homes Under the Hammer and Amazing Spaces.
Renovating your home isn’t always as easy as it seems on television, however. Whilst some tasks such as having a new roof fitted or getting new doors and windows installed are relatively easy to sort out (although it is still a good idea to check permissions with your local council), others aren’t as straightforward.
In some cases, external factors can slow your plans down and cause frustration. Here, we explore some of the unexpected factors that you need to consider when renovating your home:
Extensions are a popular way to add extra space to your home. However, not everyone understands the impact it may have on your property. For example, have you considered the impact an extension will have on your current boiler? Adding extra space will mean there’s an added demand on your hot water system and, in some cases, your boiler won’t be able to cope. Make sure you factor this into any plan.
Even if you don’t require planning permission due to using permitted development rights, you will still need building regulation approval. In some cases, you may also need to pay a Community Infrastructure Levy, so it’s important to check this out prior to conducting any work.
2. Garage conversions
Garage conversions generally don’t require planning permissions if you aren’t intending to increase the size of your house by making the garage larger. If your sole purpose is to use the space for personal gain, then you should be able to carry out your intended work so long as you complete the work thoroughly and to the correct standard. However, it’s important to note that planning permission must be sought if you are looking to convert the space into a separate house.
3. Loft conversions
Converting a loft is another easy way to create more space in your home. However, make sure you get the correct building regulations approval. This is required to ensure there is sufficient structural strength to the floor, while also making sure that the existing roof and the structure’s stability isn’t jeopardised.
Many houses do not have sturdy enough flooring in their lofts to support a lot of weight. This could cause issues if you plan to turn your loft space into a spare bedroom, for example, and without official planning meeting set regulations, you could run into a host of problems. Perhaps surprisingly, any work that you carry out could indeed hinder your future sale if you don’t get the appropriate permission and paperwork. In some instances, you will be required to revert the property back to its former state if you haven’t gone through the correct channels when carrying out the work.
Electricity is an important part of home renovations which is often overlooked until work gets underway. Sometimes, work you plan to carry out will mean moving your electric meter and fuse box. However, you must make sure you don’t move it yourself. Why? Yep, you guessed it; this is also illegal. Usually, if it’s a move of fewer than 15 centimetres, this can be carried out by your energy supplier free of charge. But for larger-scale moves of over three metres, your local distribution company would have to move your mains supply before the electricity meter can be placed elsewhere. If this is something you require, make sure you book the relevant appointments to avoid long delays.
5. Notify your neighbours
The Part Wall Act of 1996 stipulates that you have to notify your neighbours of any renovation projects. This occurs if you share a wall with another house and your work may undermine the structural integrity of the wall. Tasks such as fitting shelves and replastering aren’t included in this Act, however, if you were looking to undergo more extensive work it is something you must adhere to.
This approach may seem unnecessary in some cases, but it’s always polite to notify your neighbours of what work will be taking place. Present this to them alongside a copy of the Act two months before you intend to carry out the work. They will then have 14 days to raise any concerns they may have and provide written approval or rejection. Doing this will cover you if anything turns sour with said neighbour. If they do reject your proposal and it’s impossible to come to some form of agreement, you will be required to assign a surveyor who will then determine what work can be carried out.
6. Is your home a listed building?
Some buildings in the UK fall under the listed building category – you should have been informed if your home was listed when you bought the property. If it is, then chances are you will struggle to carry out any planned work without a fight. It is actually a criminal offence to simply go ahead with any work without the authorisation to do so. If you are unsure whether or not your property is a listed building, you can check at British Listed Buildings.
Whilst renovating your home can be an exciting experience, you will have a lot of hard work to undertake before you can enjoy the finished product. For any work you may be thinking of carrying out, it’s important to carry out thorough research before you start so that hidden costs and issues don’t creep up on you.